Plastics/microplastics in marine environment of the Gulf of Trieste

Internship position (12 ECTS)
Pollution of the ocean by plastics is an emerging problem all over the world. Plastic materials are very resistant to degradation in the natural environment. As a consequence a rather high accumulation rate is observed in different parts of marine environment. Small plastic particles are quite often ingested by marine organisms. Plastic materials have a large potential to concentrate contaminants from the surrounding water, many of them also contain toxic additives. As such they can be harmful for marine organisms. Moreover, they can be also harmful for human life. During the internship the quantity of plastic particles will be determined in surficial sediments in the littoral area of the Gulf of Trieste and in some marine organisms, e.g. mussels, fish. For this purpose plastic particles will be separated from the sediment particles in a high density medium. The number of plastic particles will be determined using a microscope. The plastic particles will be additionally examined by spectroscopic techniques (e.g. FTIR). The obtained results will contribute to the better knowledge of the distribution and possible sources of plastics in the investigated part of marine environment.
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Mateja Grego
Reference Number: RP-47611